Although Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it would be over two and a half years for it to be fully enforced. Many slave owners intentionally withheld this information to avoid freeing slaves. Slave owners from Mississippi, Louisiana, and other Eastern states had been migrating west to avoid the Union Army. In doing so, they took over 150,000 slaves with them. Due to it being so far out west, Texas was the last state reached by Union Soldiers in 1865. On June 19 in Galveston, Union general Gordon Granfer issued Order No. 3 which proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas. What was first celebrated by small church communities gained traction and spread across the South. This day, now celebrated across the US, is known as “Juneteenth.”
This day, also referred to as Freedom Day, has come to represent African American Freedom and commemorate those who suffered. 156 years later, and this holiday is as important as ever. Not only does it focus on celebrating freedom but also on education and advocacy. Many use this day as a time to spread awareness on the discrimination and racism that still affects the African American community.
As an organization committed to the never-ending work of applying a racial equity lens to our work and always evolving to align our values with our practices, Student U will be closed on Friday, June 18th, in honor of Juneteenth.
This celebration, commemorated by African Americans for generations, reminds us that freedom in the American context has never been free for Black folks, has been won through struggle, and must be fiercely protected. It reminds us of the enduring resilience of Black Americans, the power of holding on to hope, and the importance of continuing to learn and unlearn the histories that we have been taught.
Today, we are closed to celebrate, to educate ourselves, and to reflect on the freedoms still to be won. We invite you to do the same.
Student U focuses on using the power of education to build a just and equitable Durham in which all students, regardless of color or economic status, are able to succeed. Our goal is to build community around advocacy and policy change. To support this, we are looking for an individual who is passionate about Student U’s mission and core values. As Family Engagement Coordinator, this individual will strengthen our community with families and community partnerships. Learn More and Apply Here >>